Game review: Dead Nation

Erin Johnsrud, Staff Writer

I came late to the gaming party. It wasn’t until last year that I played my very first game, “Dead Nation,” on the PlayStation 3 that made its way to my apartment thanks to the man in my life. I love horror movies and TV shows, and it stands to reason that I enjoyed killing zombies. The game itself is a fairly straightforward top-down shooter in which you and your partner (whether that’s an actual, online or AI partner) walk around a post-apocalyptic city killing zombies and various other monster-types. The purpose of your journey is to get a “patient zero” sample to some government guys, and you learn about your mission through some really well done graphic novel-esque cut scenes.

Chances are, if you’re considering this game for the PlayStation Vita, you have already played it on the PS3 or PS4. A few things to consider: it is the same exact game as the PS3 version, there’s no new content as there was in the recent PS4 “Apocalypse Edition” release, but you’re mainly going to be playing to this game to…kill zombies. Then there are the inherent limitations of playing on the portable system itself. The frame is smaller, and therefore were harder to see than on the 60 inch TV I am used to. Given the awesome use of shadow and light used in every version of the game, it can be even harder to see in the many dark areas because of that small screen. Portable systems also mean smaller controllers, so it is a little harder to navigate the urban (or cemetery, as it were) landscape, as well as aim, with the dual-stick nature of the game, and switching between weapons proves more difficult as well. These limitations matter more or less depending on the level of difficulty you’re playing, but easier levels mean easier gaming no matter what format you use.

Since concessions are made due to the very nature of the portable system, I can’t help but set those aside, and just call the game what it is: hours of addictive, zombie-killing fun. The multitude of weapons you can acquire, and subsequently level up (my favorites are the shotgun and blade cannon – which is absolutely as cool as it sounds) and escalating difficulty of your foes keep the game engaging until the very end. A nice bonus is if you already own “Dead Nation” on the PlayStation 3, it’s free for your Vita! Not so for the PS4-only owners of the game, but at a price of just $7.99, you’re not taking too much of a risk with your money.